Black male teenagers are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than are white males, says a study by ProPublica reported by the Christian Science Monitor. Between 2010 and 2012, there were 1,217 deadly police shootings reported to the FBI. Black males between the ages of 15 and 19 were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million; for white male teenagers, the rate dropped to 1.47 deaths per million.
The issue was brought to stark national attention on Aug. 9, when Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson. ProPublica looked at more than 12,000 incidents of police homicide reported between 1980 to 2012. In 77 percent of cases where the cause of incidents were “undetermined,” the person shot was black. Between 2005 and 2009, 62 percent of cases reported “officer under attack” as the cause. The study comes with an important asterisk. ProPublica notes that the federal data, which are self-reported by police departments, are “terribly incomplete.”